BY DR. GARRY F. GORDON, MD, DO, MD(H)
The holidays are a wonderful time of celebration, however, it can also be an incredibly stressful time that can make us more susceptible to infections and illness. Our gastrointestinal (GI) tract is where 80 percent of our immune function resides, so the foods and beverages that we consume play a significant role in moving us toward a place of health or a place of illness. An unhealthy, stressed gut will always result in illness, and has also been tied to weight problems and obesity. Good gut flora plays a dramatic role in your energy level, metabolic function, immune system, and cardiovascular health.
So many of us today have food sensitivities, allergies, acid reflux, leaky gut syndrome, and other chronic conditions relating to poor digestive health. It is estimated that 40 percent of the U.S. population is dairy- or lactose-intolerant, and 30 percent should eat a gluten-free diet. Processed meats, refined carbohydrates, hydrogenated and trans fats, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), monosodium glutamate (MSG), chlorinated water, excessive alcohol consumption, gluten and dairy products, are just some of the things resulting in symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn, nausea, bloating, excessive gas, constipation, and/or diarrhea.
Unfortunately, when these symptoms arise, they are typically treated with an antacid (Pepto-Bismol, Tums), prescription H2 blockers (Tagamet, Zantac), and/or proton-pump inhibitor (Nexium, Prilosec), which work to reduce stomach acid. However, when the stomach acid is neutralized, the ability to kill harmful pathogens in the stomach also decreases. Acid reflux is actually more often caused by having too little acid in your stomach, not too much. For proper digestion, we need pepsin to break down food into the vital nutrients our body needs. Pepsin requires hydrochloric acid (HCl) to work. If there is not enough acid present, it becomes increasingly difficult for your stomach to fully process your food, and it may initially respond by releasing more gastric acid. More antacids are taken, which perpetuates the cycle, eventually causing serious GI damage, along with chronic mineral deficiencies.
Eating fresh organic fruits and vegetables that contain the enzymes needed for proper digestion is fundamental in maintaining digestive health. There are digestive enzyme supplements available, containing things like bromelain and papain, which work very well in optimizing digestion. Other beneficial foods I recommend incorporating into your diet are a variety of organic nuts and seeds, and other healthful fat sources such as coconut and olive oil. Choose meats from animals that are humanely raised, grass-fed, and hormone-free, and wild-caught fish and seafood — farm-raised fish contain negligible amounts of essential omega-3 DHA/EPA. Also, do not overcook your food, as this will destroy the enzymes present, and do not cook with non-stick coated cookware, as it leaches toxins into your food.
To help combat poor digestion, you need to support your gut with a daily probiotic supplement. Probiotics are live micro-organisms that help keep your gut balanced and healthy. The most common probiotic microbes are lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. I have investigated several supplements, and have found one of the very best to be Kyo-Dophilus 9, which contains three lactobacilli strains and six bifidobacteria strains. This is the probiotic that I use personally on a daily basis, and I support those live microbes using my Beyond Fiber supplement, containing Inuflora (organic artichoke), essential B vitamins, Beta-sitosterol, and calcium EDTA for detoxification.
For more information about my FIGHT For Your Health Program, and any of the supplements I personally use and recommend, please visit Gordon Research Institute on the web at gordonresearch.com.
Adams, Mike. “Russia bans all GM corn imports; EU may also ban Monsanto GMO in wake of shocking cancer findings”. Natural Health News website. September 26, 2012. http://www.naturalnews.com/037328_Russia_GMO_Monsanto.html
Barrett, Mike. “Acid Reflux Caused by Too Little Stomach Acid”. Natural Society website. September 26, 2011. http://naturalsociety.com/fda-says-stomach-acid-drugs-can-lead-to-magnesium-deficiency